From Staff Reports

The number of U.S. rigs drilling for oil and natural gas fell for a seventh-straight week, but producers are still pumping at near-record rates.

In its weekly report Friday, Baker Hughes said the combined tally of oil and gas rigs fell by five in the past week, leaving 855 at work. That was the fewest standing since early 2017.

The number of oil rigs was down three to 710, while the tally of rigs seeking gas fell two, to 144.

The number of oil-directed rigs now is down 151 from a year ago, with gas rigs down 45.

Despite the drilling slowdown, weekly oil production remains near an all-time high. Weekly U.S. crude production was at 12.4 million barrels per day, according to the latest weekly report from the federal Energy Information Administration. That’s up from 11.7 million barrels per day at the beginning of 2019.

According to a monthly report the administration released Monday, July crude output fell to 11.81 million barrels per day in July, its third monthly decline from a record high of 12.12 million barrels per day in April.

Texas took its ninth-straight weekly rig count loss in the past week, with the statewide tally declining four, to 414. A year ago, 515 rigs were at work in Texas. Oklahoma lost three, to 63. That’s down from 143 a year ago. Louisiana dropped one, to 55. A year ago, it had 62.

New Mexico was the week’s big gainer, adding four rigs to make 113 at work there. Single-rig gains were seen in Alaska, North Dakota and Utah.

By major basin, gains were seen only in the West Texas-New Mexico Permian and North Dakota’s Williston. The Permian was up one, to 415, while the Williston added a pair, to 55.

Oklahoma’s Cana-Woodford dropped two, to 36, while that state’s DJ Niobrara lost one, to 21. The South Texas Eagle Ford Shale lost a pair, leaving an even 60 at work. The East Texas-Louisiana Haynesville was flat on 50.

U.S. crude futures, meanwhile, were trading around $52 per barrel Friday, putting the contract on track for its biggest weekly loss since mid-July due to financial market concerns that the slowing economy was on the brink of a recession amid lingering trade tensions.